The illustration above represents prominent members of my family-line. I started work on this after a great-uncle, who I had never met before, contacted me with the request of creating a cover image for a book he was working on. The book was going to go in depth about our shared family-tree and history. I was intrigued as I like learning about history and ancestry. In the following months I worked hard to create the image you see above. It was quite a challenge as I had to research and find reference of actual historical ancestors. It was interesting though, I had no idea my family had such a storied history. Some of them were murdered, some of them did a fair share of murdering themselves. You are looking at templars, monks, criminals, governors, royal treasurers, rebel army leaders, entrepreneurs, musicians and the proud (second or third) car-owner in all of the Netherlands. All in all, an interesting bunch!
Most of the portraits are based on reference from paintings which were made of my family members. Some I had to use a bit more imagination but each person is based on historical information. Another challenge was fitting so many portraits in an image and still coming up with a pleasing composition and overall image. The end result is something that lands in between a movie poster and a classical painting.
Just below you can view some of the references I used to come up with the portraits and composition. For some of the portraits I could not find historical reference and had to come up with a likeness myself, which I did base on people who had similar historical roles.
I also came up with a mash-up of the heraldry, or family sigil. I took references from multiple of my families heraldic imagery and combined elements of them.
The icons in the corner are taken from a very old tombstone engraving of a prominent family member who lived almost half a millennium ago.